March 20, 2007 Subject:
The Human Side of the Raj
Cheem is the Robert Service of British India, whose poems are composed in a similar exalted doggerel but whose subjects are not the brawlers and gold-seekers of the Yukon, but the Officer class, its wives, and their servants of Victorian Ind.
The characters include hasty tempered Colonels, vain Captains, alcholic Generals, as well as their straying spouses and eloping daughters, all fixed with a gently mocking yet affectionate turn of phrase that makes for surprisingly effective declamation.
Cheem sees through it all; no humbug, no pretense - just a thoroughly honest and very humorous sequence of sketches and anecdotes in verse form. If you want to taste life in the Raj, and learn a few of the words English borrowed from that era, this is a book you won't forget. And the drawings are good, too.